Share the Love! How Does Your Family Celebrate Valentine's Day WITHOUT Gifts?

Updated on February 09, 2011
K.J. asks from Atlanta, GA
15 answers

It seems kids are often robbed of the true meaning of Holidays as big business marketers have us believing that "love" is all about gift giving. Please share your famililes nonmaterialistic traditions for Valentine's Day.

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answers from Miami on

It's just another day....I personally believe V-day is highly overrated and no big deal. Geesh, if I had to wait a whole year for my husband to dote on me and tell me he loved me, I'd have left him a long time ago. It's just a money making scam of a day...just my opinion.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Well my SO works this Valentines day. So what I am planning is making cupcakes and having my daughter help decorate them (if we have time we will do v-day cookies and take them to SO's work for his coworkers to enjoy). We are going to make a special Valentine from my daughter to daddy, and I figure while we have the craft stuff out a few decorations. For dinner I am either going to make a lasgana, pasta or pizza dish (because its red and white).
We do however buy gifts for each other. We aren't big on Valentine's day so we only spend about 10 bucks on each other. I always get him a pair of valentine's day boxers. It's practical but funny. He usualy gets me a small box of chocolate. For our daughter last year we got her a small stuffed toy, this year I am going to get her a heart shaped balloon.
I don't feel spending less then 20 bucks..not even the cost of dinner out somewhere.....on small trinkets is buying into commercialism or materialistic. I think the problem with ANY holiday is when a person feels how *much* they spend denotes how much they love that person.
Just my opinion. Happy v-day. =)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

hubby and I don't really do much for v-day but I always make my kiddos heart pancakes :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

We don't do anything huge for Valentines day. In fact I am a little pissy that I have to get valentines for all the kids in my son's classes..but maybe I am a bit of a grinch! lol
For my kids and hubby...usually just a cute card that says how much I love them and how great they are and then a little $1 box of chocolates for the boys.
All my life it has been a card and a small box of chocolates because usually we are celebrating my mother's birthday! Mom's (grandma's) birthday trumps

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answers from Chicago on

For us it's about the special dinner that we have as a family! We have fondue - the kids look forward to it and help plan the meal. Three courses - Cheese, Oil and of course chocolate. We sit around the table for 2 hours - Talk. laugh. Eat Slowly, and enjoy each others company!

It's about the LOVE we share everyday and this dinner is always special! Start your own tradition!

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answers from Detroit on

Last year I gave my hubby and 5yr old son a lil baby boy for Valentines day (I can't believe my baby is already almost a yr old)! It was totally all about love....and if you don't count the cost of the hospital bill.....he was free! I'm gonna read all the other (serious) responses now! =)

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answers from Columbus on

We always have a fun breakfast together. I make something that we don't usually have like crepes or chocolate chip pancakes or whatever is special to your family. We do exchange homemade valentines also.

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answers from San Francisco on

We don't buy into all the commercialism. We make our valentines for eachother and tell each person how much we love them and why we love them. We keep it low key and don't focus on gifts or how many valentines you recieve-its about loving one another not just on valentines day, but every day. Every day is Valentines day to us.


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answers from Spartanburg on

We also do fondue. This is a tradition that has carried over from the days B.C. (before children), when we ruined a perfectly good table top by using lighter fluid instead of fondue oil! I don't recommend using lighter fluid. But the girls (now almost 4) really love it, esp. the chocolate part. I usually only let them dip in the chocolate, which is warmed on the stove, and we dip in the cheese and oil for them.

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answers from New York on

I better get getting something other than flowers. wanna show you love me? buy me something :)
otherwise we go to a nice dinner with our children. it's my kids' choice, and it's usually a japanese place.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Me and the kids make a treat together. Usually it's cookies. We usually make Valentine's for our family.

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answers from Atlanta on

My boys are still really little, so we bake heart-shaped cookies or Valentine's cupcakes and decorate them. I've explained to them (the oldest gets it this year) that it's a special day to let the people you love know it. Because they're so young, we really haven't had to go beyond that yet. I did think it was SO sweet (and sorry this crosses over into buying something), but my son and I were looking in the Valentine's section at Target the other day, and he was curious about all the special Valentine's Day marketing stuff -the teddy bears with hearts and candy and M&M gifts. I told him if there was a really special friend (he's 4) or someone he liked a lot, he could get them a little box of candy or something for Valentine's Day -that the presents were for that. He got a little stuffed bear in a Fonzie jacket holding a heart of Reese's cups and said he was giving it to his best friend in the whole world -this little boy he's been best friends with since they were 2! I thought that was sweet. The little boy is coming over to spend the night on Friday, so we're making heart cookies to decorate and he can give him the bear ;-)

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answers from Chicago on

We do not really celebrate Vday only on feb14th, we love each other and tell each other daily. I have been with my hunny for 6yrs and we have never exchanged gifts for Vday but I typically buy a new bottle of perfume for myself. This year got DKNY Pure :)

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answers from Savannah on

I've already answered this elsewhere, but I LOVE this subject! We celebrate everything we can!!! I hate the idea of letting an opportunity pass by. We even make up our own holidays or celebrate anniversaries of....anything. My husband cracks me up when he brings in flowers and takes me for a drive to the beach to surprise me with a "Happy day we saw that amazing red sunset at the Grand Canyon day" or whatever. Or I surprise him with a poker night party with his friends (ALL of it) and after a couple hours steal him away to celebrate a day we had in Vegas. It's just fun. We like to play and celebrate. Valentine's Day is a good day!
I like the fondue idea a couple people mentioned. My boys are still a little too young for that yet, but I think I'll try that in a year or so. Sounds fun. There's tons you can do, that aren't "commercial". It IS technically about showing love and a lot of that is giving things, but they don't have to be expensie or cheesy presents. If we're celebrating on a day that my husband is off, he's "the breakfast guy" and will cook crepes, french toast with fruit, or a bigger spread if we have guests around. I'm "the dinner chick" so I usually cook a special dinner for us after leaving the children with the sitters (smothered filet mignon topped with gorgonzola, marinated green beans, garlic red potatoes, mashed, and an apple cheesecake topped with cinnamon apples and roasted pecans is our tradition because of our dating days), we play our Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald CD and have a special table cloth, dance a little. He helps me with the finishing touches in the kitchen which I think is sweet and fun. Then, we go out: a concert, or even a free concert out downtown, or weather permitting the arboretum, whatever.
One year we went out away from the city and did some star gazing with a thermos of "grown up" hot chocolate (a shot of peppermint schnapps, a shot of Godiva liqueur, and Ghiradelli hot chocolate for each serving). He has surprised me with hillarious "gifts" that had me rolling with laughter, remembering why we're together to begin with (he's funny!), we've gone to comedy clubs, courtyard tours, a couple plays, one year we strolled through downtown and ended up at Barnes & Noble for a coffee and read a travel book together and used our imaginations to "take" us to India and what we'd do while there. He's bought me poetry books with wonderful inscriptions on the inside, stuff like that. It's not bad to buy a gift, it's just important that there was some thought in it (like, I love poetry, this book was fitting, and the note he wrote was very special).
As for gifts from me: his favorite 2 gifts were not for Valentine's Day (Thanksgiving and Father's Day) but could be easily done on V-day instead--once I wrote a list of every thing I could think of that I loved, liked, or was thankful for regarding him. I had a lot of reasons! Silly, serious, sentimental, stupid, all of them. Then I slipped one "reason" (written on a little slip of construction paper) into balloons and blew them up, and filled his SUV with them. (FILLED!) I pulled that off by going to his work and asking for his keys because I wanted to take his car for an oil change/carwash for his be sweet. After the car was full of balloons, I went back in casually, gave him his keys and a card with a giant needle taped to the card with a note that said "bring this needle and a bag to see some of the reasons I love you" and left. He came home all goofy and happy. He had to pop a lot of reasons just to get in the car and drive home, and then he wanted me to be there (I threw the balloons at him) while he popped the rest. He has a manly little box in a prime place on the shelf in our entry where he stores those reasons (the box cost probably $5-10 at Walmart). He loves them, and I've caught him checking to make sure they're still there a few times over the years. Another favorite is a photo book I did online (, but there's lots of sites that do it now) that was all about him, for him. You could do any theme you think up. Mine was "The ABCs of Daddy" b/c our oldest was learning his alphabet. He loved that so much and brought it to work for a week to show it off. Inside, I also conducted an interview of serious and silly questions about daddy and typed the answers exactly as our son answered. Too cute.
This year we aren't going anywhere because we don't have a babysitter in our new town yet, and the budget is blown because he had to get a new wedding ring (which we'll open on V-day) because he lost the old one in the water while we were playing at the beach last summer. Instead, we're having a kids-included date night at home. My oldest is going to help me make a strawberry cheesecake (because it's red, and yum, and my husband's favorite desserts are cheesecakes). We've made handprint placemats (all 4 of us made our own!) where we made heart shapes as the center of the placemat and then we each wrote lovey messages in colored markers on everyone's placemats (my 14 month old was allowed to make a couple scribbles on everyone's)....I'm going to kinkos to get the laminated today. We'll watch Lady and the Tramp, have a nice spaghetti & meatball dinner like in the movie, and if they eat their salads there's cheesecake for dessert. We have our special CD we made together (for our wedding, but not boring wedding songs--good stuff) and we'll all dance together in the living room. It is GOOD to let your children see you dance, or date, etc. They are learning from you!
Another thing we did before was make a photo puzzle (one for daddy, one for each set of grandparents). We made a V-day poster with hearts and stuff that said "We love you to pieces" and took a photo of the boys with the poster. Went to Walmart and had the photo turned into a puzzle. Simple things like that.
When they get older, we'll write each other Vday notes. But really, I think it's fun to go on a date, OR a family date (a carriage ride around the park, a train ride, making a wish in the fountain, all that is sweet and fun for all, not necessarily things we'd do just the 2 of us, but fun when with the kids. But also teaching the children how to date and how to be nice). What kinds of dates did you do before marriage? Is there a special date you'd like to recreate (a first date, the day he proposed, etc?) It's just fun to do things that are out of the ordinary. We show each other we love each other all the time, but it's nice to have a special day with special things.
Just thought of a couple more things: you can have a box (get something cool and interesting looking at World Market or something) and inside a card or over dinner, give ONE reason or way you love each other and afterwards, add it to the box. Do that every year as a tradition. Simple, free, sweet, and it grows as your relationship does. Growing up, I loved how my mom had a little norfolk pine in her kitchen and we decorated it for every major holiday (sometimes V-day had to give way to Mardi Gras though, depending on what day it fell on that year)...We had an old artificial tree for kids Christmas in the living room, and pretty real tree with the "fancy stuff" for adult/guest Christmas, but then this little norfolk pine in the kitchen was a cajun Christmas tree (little things of tobasco, rice, beans, ornaments with real crawfish including a real crawfish angel, etc)...but when Christmas was over, it was a Valentine's tree with hearts and lace and little red/pink/white decorations, ornaments made of pictures of her "valentines" (us). Mardi Gras was tinsel, beads, doubloons that we drilled holes through and made ornaments with, a purple glittery top hat that she hot glued a pretty mask to on top. Easter was a previous year's plastic eggs, crosses, little scrolls with messages, 4th of July, Veteran's day, (All the men in our family were marines), Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc. When there was no holiday, it was just a live tree that was decor.

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answers from New York on

In CT we have a week long school vacation in February. It's either the week before or after President's Day. So we go away for a long weekend, and spend quality time together as a family.

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